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The Late Michael Ferguson

Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to Michael Ferguson, Auditor General of Canada, who passed away February 2 after a courageous battle with cancer.

Mike served as Auditor General of Canada from November 28, 2011, and continued to serve in that position until his death.

Previous to this position, Mike served as Deputy Minister of Finance from 2010 to 2011 for the Province of New Brunswick; Auditor General from 2005 to 2010, also for the province of New Brunswick; and provincial government comptroller from 2000 to 2005.

Mike was a certified chartered accountant and graduated from the University of New Brunswick in 1980 with a bachelor of business administration.

Although Mike and I held similar positions in our respective provinces — he in New Brunswick and I in Newfoundland and Labrador — I did not meet Mike until he was appointed Auditor General of Canada in 2011.

Always available for one-on-one meetings, Mike would give 100 per cent of his attention to the matter being discussed, always providing thoughtful insight and opinion.

As Auditor General, Mike appeared more than 80 times in committee meetings with parliamentarians and offered impartial critiques of the government’s record on a number of issues. Despite the fact that his audit reports were tough on the government of the day, he earned the respect of parliamentarians and senior public service. He was fair and thorough in both his assessments and recommendations and was a true champion of transparency and accountability.

He compelled government to act on a variety of files, including the F-35 fighter jets, the Phoenix pay system and the Canada Revenue Agency telephone system.

Mike was an exemplary public servant and a true dedicated professional. He determined government success on whether Canadians were getting services and support they were entitled to. He is also being remembered by his staff as someone who was devoted to getting the work done.

Mike, you have left an incredible legacy and have challenged us to serve better the people of Canada.

Honourable senators, please join me in recognizing the late Michael Ferguson for the exceptional contributions he made to the people of Canada throughout his career and as the Auditor General of Canada. We offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

Mike, thank you for everything you did for our country. May you rest in peace.

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